Bells, boards and boogie: fitness fads that made us sweat this year

Pole fitness

What is it? Leave your fishnets at home for this one because it's all about dancing for fitness. PoleFit is an exclusive program designed by Studio Verve director Jennifer Critelli. The PoleFit program mixes pole dancing skills with classical ballet, contemporary dance, yoga and gymnastics. It is a great form of resistance training that helps improve bone density (reducing the risk of osteoporosis) and when you start to string skills together it provides a fantastic cardio workout too.

Why people love it Because it is fun - and you can show off new tricks to your friends. "Pole fitness helps boost your self-esteem and confidence. Many students end up doing things they never thought possible such as climbing to the top of the pole, doing inverted skills, and even achieving the splits," says ThuyAnh Phan, studio manager at Studio Verve.

Yogalates

What is it? If decision-making isn't your forte and you have struggled to pick between Pilates and yoga, then this exercise is the perfect solution. Yogalates is a fusion of Yoga therapy with the core stabilising, posture-enhancing dynamics of Pilates. It stretches, strengthens and tones your body, plus helps improve your meditative breathing.

Why people love it It can help improve injuries and body aches and pains, as well as soothing the nervous system to release stress, aid relaxation and promote inner calm. "If a particular pose is not suitable to an individual then an alternative is given. Everyone has an option to suit their body," says Louise Solomon, founder of Solomon Yogalates.

Couch to 5km app

What is it? You can now go from couch potato to lean green bean thanks to an app that gets you moving. Members get free access to an eTrainer for motivation, exercise tips and healthy recipes. Workouts alternate walking and running for a gentle introduction and progress for eight weeks until participants are ready to run five kilometres non-stop.

Why people love it There are no gyms involved and you have the flexibility to work out any time. The app works as a great motivator because there are goals to reach each session and it tracks your progress as you go. There is a website to complement the app that has loads of information about all things running. "It's been the best thing for me. I was actually able to achieve something and go out running for longer than five minutes - my standard self-motivated run time. The structure was great to inspire me," says 27-year-old banker, Sara Scott.

Kettle bell training

What is it? Forget making cups of tea, this type of kettle is for getting you strong and fit, fast! Kettlebell Training is a total body work-out that incorporates cardio, flexibility and strength into a fun, dynamic and challenging form of fitness training. Kettlebell classes are a great way to stay in shape and providing you are consistent and taught the technique safely, results such as weight loss and muscular gain/tone are fast.

Why people love it "It is so simple, time efficient and is also a fun way to achieve the usual desired goals: get toned, maintain flexibility and cardio conditioning ," says Tarek Chouja, co-director of the Australian Institute of Kettlebells.

The Future Sound of Yoga

What is it? People are now embracing nightlife of a healthier variety as yoga classes get groovy. The Future Sound of Yoga is a sensory experience that was created by Angel and Matt Singmin. Angel guides the class through hatha vinyasa sequences and free-form dance, while hubby Matt DJ's and creates a soundtrack made up of electronica and other tunes.

Why people love it It's as fun as a night out clubbing, without having the bonus hangover the next day. ''Through FSOY, we try to encourage a feeling of community by giving people a chance to connect with like-minded people in a fun and safe way," says Angel.

CrossFit

What is it? The CrossFit craze has well and truly hit, with purpose-built training facilities popping up all around Australia. The intense workouts incorporate elements found in gym-nastics, Olympic weightlifting, sprinting and combat training.

Why people love it It isn't for the faint-hearted, but no two days are the same with this workout. There are new challenges to overcome every time you take a class and you can expect to improve your strength, flexibility, power, agility, co-ordination and balance.

Zumba

What is it? The perfect exercise for those wanting to show off their inner dancer and get involved in a "fitness party" that has become the most successful dance-fitness program around the world.

Why people love it About 14 million people take weekly classes across more than 150 countries. The Latin-inspired routines are easy to follow and there is loads of fun to be had that makes calorie-burning no longer a chore.

Stand-up paddle boarding

What is it? Here is your chance at walking on water … well, kind of. Stand up Paddle Boarding or "SUPing" originated in Hawaii and is popping up in waters all around Australia. As well as being a great summer holiday activity, it is also a real winner for toning abs, arms and thighs.

Why people love it It is an opportunity to engage those all-important core muscles. Children thrive at this sport because a low centre of gravity helps with balancing on the board and surfers should easily adapt to the stand-up style.

Ashy Bines Bikini Body Challenge

What is it? She claims to be "the body transformation specialist" and the challenge has more than 380,000 Facebook likes. It involves a lot of hard work as bikini bod enthusiasts are locked in for a minimum 12 weeks of regular training sessions. Participants can chat with Bines and other women for support and motivation online and there is a "clean eating diet plan".

Why women love it Everyone is in it for one reason: to get a banging body for summer. Those who sign up get a sense of belonging to something (they even get matching singlets) and seeing others achieving desired results acts as a great motivator.

The story Bells, boards and boogie: fitness fads that made us sweat this year first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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